King-Byng Crisis
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Governor General Julian Byng, the last British Governor General
King-Byng Crisis was a Canadian constitutional crisis that happened in 1926, between Governor General Julian Byng and Prime Minister King William Lyon Mackenzie. In the election of 1925, the Liberals won fewer seats than the Conservatives. The result of the election wasn't what King was expecting, the Conservatives won a total of 116 seats and Liberals were only left with 101 seats, but King decided not to resign and he remained in power with the support of the Progressives.

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Prime Minister King William Lyon Mackenzie, 25 September 1926 – 6 August 1930
Soon later, a custom department scandal broke out, the civil servants had received payoff for allowing liquor smuggling into the United States. Mackenzie King fired the Minister of Customs and promptly named him to the Senate, creating even more dismay among the members of the Progressive Party, who had already been withdrawing their support for the Liberal government. King asked Byng to dissolve Parliament and call a general election before a loss-of-confidence vote could be taken in the House of Common. Byng refused King’s request by using his reserve power which resulted in igniting the crisis. After getting denied by the Governor General, King decided to resign, as in result Canada was left with no Prime Minster and a government until Byng asked Arthur Meighen to form a government. Arthur Meighen was the leader of the Conservatives party and he didn’t refuse Byng’s request, but the new Conservative government only lasted 3 days before losing a non-confidence vote in the House of Common. The Governor General had no choice but to dissolve Parliament and call an election.

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Arthur Meighen, leader of the Conservatives Party
In 1926 election, King declared that the Governor General had acted unconstitutionally, by refusing to take the advice from the elected government. King also claimed that he tried to reduce Canada "from the status of a self-governing Dominion to the status of a Crown Colony" by refusing his advice. King's strategy was successful and it enabled him to sidestep the customs scandal and win his first majority government. King William Lyon Mackenzie was back in power.

Significance


This Canadian Constitutional crisis helped clarify the role of the Governor General and Governor General Julian Byng was the last British Governor General. It also decreased the amount of British interfering Canada's government, and Canada were able to establish Canadian ambassadors to Britain, U.S.,and France. The King-Byng Crisis also led to The Balfour Declaration, the crisis was another big step toward independence for Canada.

References


http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0004313